John “Jaycee” Cuijpers is best known as vocalist with Praying Mantis, expands on his singing career and what the future holds with regard to new music and live gigs.
Who were your influences in the early days and have you always wanted to be a singer?
My influences were, Ronnie James Dio, David Coverdale and Steve Perry but I started out as a guitar player.
Have you ever auditioned for the vocal spot in any notable bands other than Ayreon and Praying Mantis.
Yes I applied for some other bands such as Michael Schenker, Vandenberg and Royal Hunt but never was asked to do an audition unfortunately.
You have appeared on a number of albums. Do you have a favourite and why?
Yes, besides the album ‘Legacy’ by Praying Mantis I was very proud of my songs for the last Star One album ‘Revel in Time’. Even some songs were NOT released on the bonus cd but are still in my collection 😊
Do you still get the same buzz out of singing live as you did in the past?
Now it is more intense and because of being more experienced I enjoy the audience more and love to connect with them.
You appear to sing in several tribute bands covering Thin Lizzy, Foreigner, Iron Maiden and Van Halen. Is this something you enjoy and is this just local to where you stay?
I am still asked to do tributes (if I said yes to all I would have 20 bands, now there are only 3 tribute bands) and I needed these tributes to survive as a professional musician. Now that I have a daytime job (had to find one because of covid) I only do the tributes or the projects I love to do. Not all tributes are local and all over the Netherlands and one is in Germany.
Some vocalists are on strict dietary regimes or gargle with special liquids. How have you kept your voice in tip top shape all these years?
I just noticed that when I stopped smoking my voice was clearer and I wasn’t getting hoarse.
Also taking enough rest in between shows (at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep) I can do 6 shows in a row easily. I recently did 3 shows in less than 20 hours and after I needed a days rest 😊
Are there any musicians that you have not worked with, but would like to in the future?
Yes, I would love to work with Steve Harris, George Lynch, Adrian Vandenberg, Doug Aldrich, Steve Lukather and many more but these are in my top 10.
Is there any unreleased recorded material from your earlier bands that could be released?
Yes there could be but I would like to re-record them and make some adjustments to some songs.
Do you have any plans to release a solo album?
I would love to and have already asked some well-known producers but due to my busy schedule I just don’t seem to find the time to write songs. There is always the possibility that I record an album where other songwriters contribute or me co-writing songs…who knows.
With the live circuit opening up again, is there a possibility that we could see you performing some live shows in the UK?
Ooh yes I will be in the UK end of this year with Praying Mantis also performing on the Winterstorm Festival in Troon, Scotland.
Have you ever thought about doing any production work?
No sorry. I just don’t have the time for it but I am helping young students when they are having their exams at the Rock Academy. I used to do some vocal coaching some years ago and really loved it so maybe I will try that again in the near future.
Do you have anything in the pipeline at the moment that you would like to share?
Yes, a new album being released 19th May with my new band Supersonic Revolution with Arjen Anthony Lucassen, Joost van den Broek, Timo Somers and Koen Herfst. We are also working on a new album with Praying mantis which should be released early 2024.
I have also been asked to join a German Heavy Rock band and a English Progressive Rock band (all original material) ...let’s see what that will turn into...to be continued 😉
Interview by Stuart Dryden